All readers: Please see and respond to the poll on the right side of the main blog page. It’s anonymous.
First Best Friend (The Intro)
I am still in contact with my first best friend. Our relationship has fluctuated throughout the years, and he’s never met my nearly three-year-old son, but he’s still like a brother to me. The ride has been rocky at times, and jumped completely off the tracks once or twice, but we’ve always managed to right it and forge ahead. We entered into these rough patches without any confrontation, and without any knowledge it was happening.
Except for that time that I punched him in the gut, and maybe when I secretly schemed on his ex-girlfriend. Great friend I was, eh? More on that later.
First, a little background on what “best friend” means.
The term “best friend” implies that there is nobody more deserving of being called a friend. If one could choose a single soul with whom to form a platonic bond, this would be the person.
“He (or she) is my best friend.”
Children express this sentiment more than adults, and my toddler son says it of his mommy, his grammy and me, among others. Although older folks may not express it as often, they still hold in mind the notion that one person, for reasons often unnamed, just “clicks” better than anybody else.
Best friends can be found at school, at the park, or just down the road. They can live hundreds of miles away. For a rural child not of driving age, the mere proximity of a peer can elevate him or her to the top spot, but this can be a tenuous connection subject to severance at the first jingle of car keys.
For a child the title of best friend is fluid. It can change hands many times in the course of one day, given the right mix of insensitive name-calling and ego clashes. To a lesser extent, the same is true for adults, with more mature concerns like… well, pretty much the same stuff.
When I lived with my mother on the far central-western edge of Arkansas, I often made solo weekend driving trips back to my hometown. Inevitably, I ended up hanging out with my first best friend, Chris, and his girlfriend, who always fixed me up with somebody. I didn’t realize it at the time, but Chris might have been taking advantage of the fact that I reached driving age before he did. Whether he intended it that way or not, his old buddy Mark was the perfect taxi.
And, at least they threw cute girls in my path.
At that point, I had called Chris my best friend for 10 years. Even my hormone-addled teenage brain knew that things had become much more complicated than in the early days.
I’ve written accounts of many of our adventures together, but instead of laying them all out here in one chunk I will throw them out like random rewards. Or, periodic nuisances, as the case may be.
Though they may not always be in chronological order, I will start out at the beginning.